Comparison of the diet of two desert-living owls, the Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) and Little Owl (Athene noctua) from Southern Mongolia

Scott, Dawn, M., Gladwin, Karen and Barton, Nigel (2005) Comparison of the diet of two desert-living owls, the Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) and Little Owl (Athene noctua) from Southern Mongolia Mongolian Journal of Biological Sciences, 3 (1). pp. 31-37. ISSN 1684-3908

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Abstract

The diet of two sympatric owl species, the long-eared owl (Asio otus) and the little owl (athene noctua) was investigated in an arid area of southern Mongolia using pellet analysis. In total 334 pellets of long-eared owl and 52 pellets of little owl were analysed, revealing the presence of five small mammal species (Dipodidae, three Muridae and one Soricidae), small birds and invertebrate fragments. Accumulative composition plots indicated a batch size of 35-60 pellets was sufficient to reveal representative diet composition. Small mammals comprised the largest component of the diet of long eared owls with four species recorded, Phodopus was the most frequently occurring (85%) followed by Meriones (33%). Bird and invertebrate remains were also found in long-eared owl pellets but comprised less than 2%. In contrast, invertebrates were the highest occurring component of the diet of little owls (35%), with small mammals occurring in only 40% of pellets. Meriones was the most frequently recorded small mammal in owl pellets (23%) and contributed the greatest in terms of overall rodent biomass. There was a highly statistically significant difference in the diet of the two species (÷2 = 2043, d.f. = 4,P<0.001). Levin's measure of niche breadth was greater for little owls (0.71) than long-eared owls (0.51), but overall the two species had low niche overlap using Levin's index (0.22). These results are discussed in relation to previous findings of these two species.

Item Type: Journal article
Uncontrolled Keywords: desert; diet; little owl; long-eared owl; Mongolia; niche
Subjects: C000 Biological and Biomedical Sciences > C100 Biology
Faculties: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environment and Technology > Ecology, Landscape and Pollution Management
Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
Depositing User: editor environment
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2013 13:55
URI: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1960

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